For Triple R, this year’s Radiothon has never been more crucial for the station’s survival

For Triple R, this year’s Radiothon has never been more crucial for the station’s survival

Image by Naomi Lee Beveridge
Words by Tom Parker

The beloved community radio station needs your help more than ever.

Melbourne’s music scene has been in a biting coma for five months now. For five months, dust bunnies have been accruing in the corners of bandrooms, creepy crawlies have found familiarity in beer gardens while speaker systems sit uncomfortably placid, side by side.

For those who went to Golden Plains in early March, if I stood there and told you that in two weeks time, every live music venue in the city would be shut down you would have said I was crazy.

But that’s indeed what has happened as a result of a rampant pandemic 99 per cent of us didn’t even know was possible. These are wild times but also incredibly difficult times.

There are hosts of professionals who need help, none more so than those who nurture the fertile live music scene Melbourne calls home. Our live music venues are the most precious however everyone from artists to bookers, bartenders, sound engineers, publishers and beyond have lost or are soon-to-lose work as a result of the crisis.

Then there’s the community radio stations so crucial to Melbourne’s creative fabric. Triple R is part of that – a cultural bastion whose legacy precedes itself. The not-for-profit, community media organisation doesn’t need any further introduction so I’m not going to bother with preliminaries.

What I will do though, is explain the significance of Triple R’s upcoming Radiothon. Half of the radio station’s revenue comes from sponsorship revenue in a normal year, the other half stems from subscriptions. With one of these streams dried up almost completely, there is more reliance on listener commitments than ever before.

“It’s [Radiothon] is our major fundraising drive for the year, without it we wouldn’t be able to keep going into the next year and that’s in a normal year where we get sponsorship revenue. So now, instead of it being 50/50 – 50 per cent of the weight on sponsorship and 50 per cent on Radiothon – it’s now 100 per cent pretty much on fundraising, or maybe more like 80 per cent,” Triple R presenter and host of Saturday program, Neon Sunset, Annaliese Redlich told Beat Magazine.

“While it has been great that people have stood up and offered their support more than ever, we really need more people than ever to support the station in order to enable us the funds to keep going.”

Triple R is more than just an avenue to find out about the gigs happening on a Friday night, or the new records coming out this month, it’s a place where people can feel at home, where everyone can feel included no matter what their background is or interests are.

As we undergo life’s most severe disruption, the undeniable importance of such retreats has been accentuated.

“Independent radio stations like PBS and Triple R are now more than ever shining out as really important staples for our sanity and our connection unlike Spotify and unlike streaming services, which are amazing … they are amazing at what they do, but what they don’t do is connect us with others,” Redlich says.

“AI and streaming might be a literal reflection of your own internal taste because it’s gathered that data from you, but there’s so much more to us than those algorithms, there’s the bits of us that are a little less obvious,” she continues.

“You know, tuning in hearing the cranky voice of Tony Biggs on Friday morning dissecting current politics or tuning into another show. Maybe you don’t usually like that kind of music but you like that presenter and the way that they present, so you learn something different, you get pushed in your taste.”

In community radio, listeners not only have a space where they can be informed and educated but they also have a space where it’s like-for-like.

“You can go to [community radio stations] and know that your experiences will be reflected in what they’re talking about and what they’re broadcasting. Whereas with the major media organisations, yeah you might tune into Channel 9 and see the presenters more spread apart than normal and banging on about COVID, but aside from creating content or media to serve the news or to serve clicks or channel more viewers into what they do, they don’t really reflect the truth of our individual experiences, and you really hear that in stations like Triple R.”

The 2020 Triple R Radiothon sports the tagline Now, More Than Ever! I Listen, I Subscribe and while the on-air campaign takes place from 6am on Friday August 21 until Sunday August 30, if you sign up before 5pm on Wednesday September 30 you’ll still be in the running for Radiothon prizes.

The prizes that stand out from the pack include a King Island luxury package for two, including return flights, accommodation, meals and more. There’s also a year’s supply of pizza available from Rita’s Abbotsford as well as 30 slabs of beer from Young Henrys.

On top of that you could also win a season double pass to the next Meredith and Golden Plains, alongside a private furnished canvas room at The Rochester on-site. One Ordica Swift e-bike is also up for grabs courtesy of Walkers Wheels and Electric Bike Superstore.

In a normal Radiothon, listeners can subscribe by picking up the phone and calling, however due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the station won’t be running their phone room as normal. As such, anyone looking to get involved this year must subscribe via the Triple R website.

The Triple R Radiothon goes down from Friday August 21 until Wednesday September 30. Become a subscriber here

Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories three times a week.